REVIEW I Nokia 7.1 Smartphone

Nokia 7.1

Nokia is a name that almost everybody knows in the Mobile world. Nokia has reinvented itself with a new range of well-priced and very well specified phones in the past two years.

The new Nokia 7.1 is possibly the best they have made. Pure Android, superior build quality, and a sleek modern look make the Nokia 7.1 a winner; in fact, it may be the best device in its category currently.

The hardware

The Nokia 7.1 holds its own against even against the top end devices in the R20k range. There is Gorilla glass front and back along with clean aluminium chamfered edges which add a little flair. Overall the build quality is excellent.

The Nokia 7.1 offers an exceptional display for the price. Nokia calls it PureDisplay technology which supports HDR10. HDR10 makes any compatible video or game pop out of the screen with higher contrast and far better overall fidelity. The contrast ratio exceeds 1,000,000:1. The screen is a full HD 5.84” display which is taller than most with a screen ratio of 19:9. The benefit is a big screen in an easy to handle device. I found that the screen was always sharp, bright, and accurate, in all lighting conditions.

The Nokia 7.1 offers a midrange Qualcomm 636 processor which is more than adequate for most tasks, and I only found a little lag when playing some challenging games. Overall in combination with its 3GB of Ram, the Nokia 7.1 was smooth and fast, switching between apps almost instantaneously.

The battery is on the small side at 3060mAh. I was able to get through a normal day without much trouble comfortably, but heavy use will demand a top up at around 4 PM. Nokia has included USB C fast charging with a full charge in approximately 2 hours. However, 15 minutes top up got me through the heaviest of days in most instances. 30 minutes will add 50% to the battery life with the fast charge system.

The camera is a standout at this price point. The Nokia 7.1 features a dual rear camera of 12MP with an aperture of f1.8. It is not the best camera on the market but its collaboration with Zeiss shows. In daily use and decent lighting, the pictures were excellent, bright colourful and sharp.

Pic Nokia 7.1 GSM Arena

The focus was fast and taking great everyday pictures was easy. In low light, the Nokia 7.1 could take time to focus and offer slightly blurred images. Using the flash fixed all that, and the overall performance was as good or better than devices costing double. Close-ups worked well, and there is a Pro Mode for those that like to fiddle.

The front selfie camera softens picture a little but overall offers good colourful photography.

The Nokia 7.1 offers 32 Gig Ram with expandable memory via Micro SD card, a fingerprint sensor and all the latest radios from LTE to Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC for contactless payments.

The software

The Nokia 7.1 is loaded with Android One software. This means you get an almost pure Android experience that’s free of bloatware, the software installed by operators or manufactures that chew memory and clutters up the user experience.

Nokia only loads their camera software which does offer more than the standard Android camera software.


Android One also guarantees years of long-term software support. Nokia has a great track record of quickly rolling out security patches to its phones, and most of their devices are already on the latest version of Android Pie V9.0. Many slick well-marketed competitors never offer updates beyond the first year of warranty.

The clean easy to use stock interface is my choice for Android and is smooth fast and easy to use. Android 9 introduces some smart interface options, and the battery management has stepped up a notch. Overall this is a clutter-free simple to use interface that makes mobile life a pleasure.


Nokia has steadily rebuilt their range over the past two years and now offer an excellent range of devices at prices that are hard to beat.

Samsung, Huawei, and many other manufacturers hotly contest the midrange phone area, and this makes Nokia’s job far harder. If cost is no object, then it’s easier to stand apart. When the price is tight, the choice of compromises and selection of technologies becomes critical.

Nokia has years of experience in this department literally. The Nokia 7.1 is a brilliant combination of quality performance, hardware, and software. The compromises are few, and the price is excellent.

The Nokia 7.1 will not disappoint. The performance is excellent, the camera is also very good, and the technology on offer from the notable screen, build quality and fingerprint sensor, make this possibly the best midrange device in the hotly contested R4,000.00 to R6,000.00 range.

If you are in the market for a top device at a great price, then you should consider the Nokia 7.1.

Available from operators and retailers countrywide at R5,999.00.

Steven Ambrose | Techhuman | @ambio mail me |

More information | Nokia |